The new mayor of Rome has been criticized for offering the city’s binmen €360, if they attend work every day between now and January.
Roberto Gualtieri’s plan is to clean up the city for Christmas.
While announcing the event, Mr Gualtieri visited one of Rome’s worst areas for rubbish – Largo Santi Romano – with the environmental councillor, Sabrina Alfonsi.
The Italian newspaper, ‘La Repubblica’ says Mr Gualtieri’s actions come because the municipal waste collection company (AMA) is on the edge of bankruptcy.
AMA is one of the largest waste collection companies in Europe and has 7,500 workers.
Getting a sick note is easy to do in Italy, which the country’s workers take advantage of, according to the paper. With AMA an average of 15 percent of its workforce takes the day off every day.
Data from AMA shows more than 1,000 employees miss work every day, with no consequences.
This means Rome – known as Europe’s dirtiest city – is almost always in need of emergency waste collection, including the city centre.
La Repubblica blames Virginia Raggi, the previous mayor, for the failures. Her party won almost 70 percent of the votes in 2016 but in October, Romans had had enough and she lost 50 percent of those people.
Ms Alfonsi said: “We will clean for 24 hours a day without stopping. We know where the worst-hit areas are and we are taking action.”
She blamed commercial companies a lot of the waste near the bins and said the council would target these companies and take action to stop them illegally dumping.
The deal with the unions is costing €3 million and it’s hoped the recent youtube videos of wild boar rummaging through Rome’s rubbish, and the city’s rank smell, will lessen.
The way the extra pay will work is that those who have full attendance will get €360, but anyone who misses between one and three days will get only €300. Up to five days gets you €200 but anyone who misses more than five days gets nothing.
The money will be in the workers’ February paycheck and it is a big incentive, as the average monthly salary of the workers is around €1,400.
Mr Gualtieri and the unions have come under fire for the move, but they argue this is a reasonable reward for productivity, considering the city’s regular overflowing bins.
Also, the rewards come with two further conditions, and. The first is that the city has to be clean. This includes “all the main streets of Rome, removal of all waste left on the ground around the bins, sanitation of the same and removal of illegal dumps on the sides of the roads.”
The second is the total absences from the company cannot be more than ten percent; if it is, nobody receives the reward money, even those who took no sick days.